Count on Connie (Hangover)
By Connie J. Davis, Two Rivers Tribune
Question: How do you cure a hangover?–Anonymous, Hoopa CA
In order to cure a hangover, it is important to know what happened to your body when you ingested alcohol so that you can reverse, or “cure” a hangover.
According to the website, bloodalcohol.info, when you drink alcohol, 20percent is absorbed into the blood stream through small blood vessels in the stomach. The 80 percent left over continues into your small intestine and is eventually absorbed into your blood stream.
Once the alcohol is in your blood stream it is metabolized by the liver. Alcohol is broken down by enzymes. The metabalization rate is about one drink per hour: one 12 ounce bottle of beer, one four ounce glass of wine or 1.5 ounces of 40 percent alcohol. Any alcohol consumed over these amounts in the one hour is not processed by the liver, your blood becomes saturated and the alcohol makes it’s way to your body tissue where it stays until your liver is able to process it.
A hangover usually begins within several hours of stopping drinking, continuing for up to 24 hours. Symptoms of a hangover include headache, fatigue, nausea, anxiety, lack of appetite, thirst and sensitivity to light and noise.
Alcohol is absorbed directly through the stomach, and drinking excessive amounts of alcohol can irritate the stomach lining and cause nausea. If you drink too much alcohol it can promote the secretion of hydrochloric acid in the stomach. If too much of the acid builds up in the stomach your body may react by vomiting.
Alcohol is a diuretic, excessive drinking can cause the body to increase the amount of urine produced. If you drink too much alcohol, your kidneys may expel water in your urine instead of reabsorbing it into the body. Symptoms of mild to moderate dehydration include mental confusion, thirst, weakness, dizziness, headache and lightheadedness. Excess urination also removes salts and potassium from the body which can result in fatigue and nausea.
When the liver breaks down alcohol, it produces a toxic substance called acetaldehyde. Acetaldehyde is broken down by an enzyme called glutathione. When too much alcohol is consumed for the liver to keep up, acetaldehyde can build up in the body until the liver is able to process it. This may leave you with a headache and feeling nauseous.
Excess alcohol can inhibit the production of glutamine, a stimulant your body naturally makes. When you stop drinking, the body can react by overproducing glutamine. The increased production of glutamine can stimulate the brain, making it difficult to sleep.
The sure way to “cure” a hangover is to drink plenty of water to flush the alcohol and its toxic side affects from your system.